Houston Methodist’s Ferrari picked for Stodola award

Houston Methodist’s Ferrari picked for Stodola award

Mauro Ferrari, President and CEO of the Houston Methodist Research Institute and one of the founders of the field of nanomedicine, has been selected for the 2015 ETH Zürich Stodola Medal, an honor bestowed by the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering.

Ferrari will be honored April 1 at a special event in the Swiss banking capital, and will also give the honorary ETH Zürich Aurel Stodola Lecture, titled “MultiStage Vectors and Transport OncoPhysics,” on the ways in which advances in mechanical engineering can aid the rapid development of new medical technologies.

ETH Zürich mechanical engineering faculty members selected Ferrari from an international slate of distinguished scientists because Ferrari is an “internationally recognized expert” in his area. According to the department, the annual Stodola Medal and Lecture “commemorate the personality and the seminal contributions to the field of mechanical engineering of its former faculty member Aurel Stodola.” Stodola is best known for helping perfect the steam turbine. He may have been the first engineer to collaborate with a doctor — to invent a dynamic prosthetic hand and arm. Stodola died in 1942.

Ferrari is an expert in the use of nanotechnology in medicine, such as the use of nanometer-sized discs that seek out and bind to cancer cells before delivering bursts of toxic chemotherapy drugs where they are most needed — and only there. Ferrari is also an expert in something called “transport oncophysics,” an abstract approach to modeling the movement of small molecules into and out of cancer cells, as well as the flow of energy. In 2011, Ferrari co-wrote the much cited “What does physics have to do with cancer?” for the journal Nature, in which he and three colleagues explained different ways physics can contribute breakthroughs to cancer biology.

Past Stodola awardees include atmospheric chemist John Seinfeld of CalTech (2008), metabolic engineer Greg Stephanopoulos of MIT (2009), and fluid mechanics expert Nobuhide Kasagi of the University of Tokyo (2013).

ETH Zürich is the original campus of Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (Federal Technical Institute) and is one of the world’s top rated universities. Twenty-one former or current faculty members and graduates have been awarded Nobel Prizes, including Albert Einstein. For more information about the Stodola Medal and Lecture, please visit http://www.mavt.ethz.ch/awards/aurel_stodola.